Some killer live stuff from Pantera and some new stuff from familiar faces this week:
Pantera, "A New Level." From the bootleg Black Tooth (1998). The Black Tooth bootleg is perhaps the best-known by Pantera and far more interesting than their official live record. Phil Anselmo is obviously trashed as he rambles from the stage, but it makes his performances that much more intense. We get a warts-and-all Pantera performance that’s actually a pretty strong show despite Phil’s condition. “A New Level” was never one of my favorite Pantera tracks, but they rip it here.
Metallica, "My Friend of Misery." From the album Metallica (1991). It took me a lot of years to come around to this record. Like so many others, I thought it was the end of the Metallica that I loved and the lowest they could possibly get. Then came Load, which we won't talk about. Years and experiences later, I have a greater appreciation for this record and have come around to the fact that it's pretty good. This is one of the mellower tracks, but very dark, and one of a few where we actually heard Jason Newsted's bass for the first time.
Adler, "Good to be Bad." From the album Back from the Dead (2012). Back from the Dead was a very surprising album for me. Former Guns 'n' Roses drummer Steven Adler surrounded himself with some young musicians for a very good effort that held echoes of his 1980s hard rock past, as well as a taste of modern rock. "Good to be Bad" is a beautiful illustration of that. And an appearance by John 5 never hurts.
Black Label Society, "Ain't Life Grand." From the album Stronger than Death (2000). Stronger than Death, in my mind, is Black Label Society's best outing. "Ain't Life Grand" isn't my favorite track from the record, but it's still pure BLS belligerence.
Black Sabbath, "Loner." From the album 13 (2013). I have to admit that the novelty of a new Black Sabbath album has faded for me pretty quickly. I'm still digging it, but not nearly as much as I did those first few weeks. "Loner" has one of my favorite Tony Iommi licks on the record, but sounds to me like one of a few songs that was written more with Ronnie James Dio in mind than Ozzy Osbourne.